RIP- J. Jeffrey Heinrich

Submitted by John McElligott

Jeff Heinrich was a Navy Corpsman with the 1st Marine Division and was wounded in a battle near the DMZ and Medivaced back to the US due to severe head wounds. I just missed him by a few months but we became fellow Duke University Medical PA program classmates. He was my mentor and later he worked with me and helped my career in many ways. See the Duke Days for his story. It is amazing. I spoke to his wife the day he died and what she told me was how he passed. “Just fell asleep”, Now read about Jeff and you will see why he passed away the way he did. I know where to find him some day.

J. Jeffrey Heinrich, Ed.D, PA-C Emeritus, Courtesy of Physician Assistant History Society

AAPA’s first student president and founder of the official AAPA Student Academy, J. Jeffrey Heinrich, Ed.D, PA-C Emeritus, died on May 10 in Guilford, Connecticut. Heinrich was also co-founder of the Society for the Preservation of Physician Assistant History, which became the PA History Society, with Dr. Reginald D. Carter, PhD, PA. He was appointed and then elected as the first president of the Society.

According to his PA History Society biography, Heinrich was born in 1945 and served in Vietnam as a hospital corpsman with the U.S. Marines. Following his military service, he received his undergraduate degree from Castleton State College in Vermont. After teaching for a year, he enrolled in the Duke University PA Program in 1971. He was elected to represent PA students on AAPA’s Board of Directors and asked to develop a student academy. In this role, he was recognized as the first student president and the official AAPA Student Academy was developed a few years later.

Heinrich in 1975 as the first student academy president, Courtesy of Physician Assistant History Society

Following graduation from Duke, Heinrich served as a clinical PA at Yale University School of Medicine and co-directed its surgical residency program. He obtained a master’s degree from Southern Connecticut State University and a doctoral degree from Nova University in adult education. In 1998, he became the program director of the George Washington University PA Program, in the Department of Health Sciences, in Washington, D.C. He remained in this position as a full professor until 2007 when he returned home to Guilford.

After serving as AAPA student president, Heinrich continued to be actively involved in local, state, and national PA organizations. He served as treasurer and as a board member for AAPA, and as president of the Connecticut Academy of PAs and the District of Columbia Academy of PAs. In addition, he served as president of the PA Foundation and the Connecticut PA Foundation. Heinrich co-authored more than 50 publications in clinical and academic journals, and served as the associate editor of JAAPA. Heinrich was honored for his many clinical, academic, and volunteer achievements by countless organizations over the course of his career.

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